Is There A Limit For Medical Negligence Claims?
What happens when a medical provider who is supposed to help you actually causes harm? Being a victim of medical malpractice can be an extremely stressful, difficult, and overwhelming experience, to say the least. Fortunately, there are legal options available to those who have fallen victim to the negligence of a trusted medical professional. It’s important to realize, however, that like any legal matter, medical malpractice claims can be complex, and certain rules must be followed – including important time limits within which you must file your claim.
STATE STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS
All states have specific deadlines within which claimants must file personal injury cases in general – and medical malpractice claims in particular. In legal terminology, these time limits are referred to as “statutes of limitations.” The statute of limitation for a medical malpractice claim can vary by state – and could be anywhere from one to several years after the medical malpractice occurred, depending on where you live.
A statute of limitations is not a deadline by which all evidence must be submitted. It is simply a deadline by which you must file the initial complaint in your lawsuit, identifying the nature of your claim, and the parties against whom you are asserting it.
As a general rule, if the victim does not file a lawsuit within that time limit, the victim loses the opportunity to do so. As with many legal matters, however, there are exceptions.
THE DISCOVERY RULE
One common exception to the standard statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is known as the “discovery rule”. Generally, the clock will typically start running for a medical negligence claim on the date that the medical malpractice occurred. In some situations, however, a patient doesn’t know right away that he or she has been harmed by a medical provider. The injuries may be internal and slow to manifest, or there may have been some failure to act, for example, that ultimately caused harm down the road.
In those situations, most states have special rules for patients who could not reasonably be expected to know immediately that they were harmed as a result of medical negligence. Broadly, this exception is referred to as the “discovery” rule – insofar as it prevents the clock from beginning to run until the victim knew (or should have discovered) that he or she was harmed.
Once the clock begins to run under the discovery rule, the time limit is as it would otherwise be, depending upon the deadlines outlined in the particular state where the claim is being filed.
AVOID DELAY AND ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS
As is the case with many legal matters, medical negligence claims can be complex. Various factors may affect the time limits within which you must file your claim. One thing is true regardless of circumstances and no matter what state you are in, however. If you attempt to file your medical negligence lawsuit after the statutory time limit has passed, a court will almost certainly dismiss your claim. If you have been injured and you desperately need compensation, this is the last thing that you want to happen.
For this reason, it is essential to be aware of the time limits in your state and to find and retain an attorney who can ensure that you file your claim within those limits. Failing to do so means that you will give up valuable rights – rights that you deserve to assert. At Roden Law, we’re here to help you do exactly that.
RODEN LAW – YOUR MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE ATTORNEYS
Most of us trust that our medical providers will help us – not harm us. In some unfortunate circumstances, however, that simply isn’t the case. If you are the victim of medical negligence, you need a legal team on your side who will fight for the compensation you deserve. At Roden Law, we are that team. Our talented and experienced group of medical negligence attorneys will fight for your rights, so you can focus on your recovery. We'll walk with you each step of the way so that you can turn the page to a better and brighter chapter ahead. Give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.